One of the great privileges of my life is knowing many good people. In fact, it would be difficult to overstate the impact of these family members, friends, and acquaintances on my journey through life – and who I have become.
As anyone who has read my conversion story or my latest book knows, the greatest gift I have been given is my unwitting discovery of the Catholic faith. Embracing the Church has transformed just about every aspect of my life. Through her, I have received the cleansing power of baptism, a sacramental marriage, recourse to the Eucharist and confession, and a sense of purpose that transcends even my own suffering.
Of course, there have been other practical ramifications. Like eight amazing kids.
The other day, I was corresponding with a friend through email. It struck me that this friend, who is not Catholic, might be interested in attending RCIA classes (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) to learn more about the Church, have questions answered, and perhaps even enter the Church at Easter. So I extended a warm invitation to him (and his wife) to consider it. He responded graciously, and I’m praying for him – but won’t apply pressure. After all, freewill was God’s idea.
It’s an opportune time of year to consider RCIA. The fall is when such groups typically begin meeting in Catholic parishes. The format varies somewhat, but it’s a non-threatening way to learn about the Church from the ground up, so to speak, with others who are learning right along with you. In my experience, RCIA groups are a great way to foster wonderful friendships, since they meet weekly and participants discuss many important topics – like what the Church teaches and why. My wife and I have even sent older teenage children through RCIA to learn their faith at an adult level, and I think that’s been helpful. So don’t think that because you sign up for RCIA, you have to become Catholic. That’s up to you. In fact, if you find your arm being twisted to come into the Church, you might want to find another parish.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, it’s simple – this gift that I have received, this pearl of great price, this not-always-easy but amazing treasure trove of faith, is the greatest gift I can offer you. For whatever reason, you chose to visit this humble little blog today, and if you’re reading this, I invite you to consider joining your local RCIA group. If you’re already Catholic, consider helping out your local group, or invite others to join you on this incredible journey of discovery and transformation. If you’re a skeptic, fine. If you have a prior marriage that you’re not sure about, no sweat. Whatever your situation, have no fear, there are answers available.
When I was on my journey towards the Church, my dad told me to go where people are allowing themselves to be changed by the faith. In becoming Catholic, the toughest part is often that first step. But I can assure you, any steps you take towards Christ and His Church will be blessed… and so will you.
P.S. If you’re not at the point where you’re ready to consider RCIA, please consider picking up a copy of my new book, How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming Into the Catholic Church. One of the intended audiences is RCIA groups, but I hope it also encourages those who aren’t quite ready for that yet.